Update (June 17): Apple's move to USB-C could come just in time as now American lawmakers are considering implementing a common charger law.
It sounds like the Apple Lightning cable’s days are numbered, after almost a decade in service. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (opens in new tab), the company is already preparing to add USB-C support to iPhones in 2023.
If true, this would be a very big deal. It’s been more than 10 years since the phone industry moved towards a standardized charging port; first micro-USB and later USB-C. The iPhone, on the other hand, has always had a proprietary Apple connector — most notably Lightning, which launched with the iPhone 5 in late 2012.
(1/2)My latest survey indicates that 2H23 new iPhone will abandon Lightning port and switch to USB-C port. USB-C could improve iPhone's transfer and charging speed in hardware designs, but the final spec details still depend on iOS support.May 11, 2022
According to Kuo, adopting USB-C could improve both data transfer and charging speeds, though the final specifications will entirely depend on what iOS can support. It also means that you won’t need to have multiple chargers handy to keep all your Apple and non-Apple devices recharged.
The move could also mean new iPhones may be compatible with USB-C accessories, such as charging docks or gaming controllers. However current iPhone owners, who have accessories already, may end up having to replace all their obsolete Lightning-centric tech. Provided they haven’t switched to wireless already, of course.
It has long been speculated that Apple would eventually switch the iPhone to USB-C. That speculation only increased after similar changes were made to new iPads, notably the iPad Pro, iPad mini 6 and iPad Air 2022.
Likewise the European Union, which prompted the initial move to a unified charging standard, has been threatening to mandate the use of USB-C as a common charger. The legislative body has been making noise around this for years, but the new “EU Common charger (opens in new tab)” legislation looks ready to make good on those threats.
However other rumors, including a report from Kuo, dampened those rumors and suggested Apple might launch a portless iPhone instead — skipping USB-C entirely. Now Kuo appears to have changed his tune.
We’ve heard various conflicting rumors about USB-C making its debut on the iPhone 14, which is expected to launch towards the end of this year. The most bizarre rumor even claimed that only the iPhone 14 Pro would come with USB-C, meaning the iPhone 14 and rumored iPhone 14 Max would be left with Lightning.
If Kuo is right, it seems the iPhone 14 launch may disappoint a great many people. Instead, we might have to wait for the iPhone 15 to arrive before the iPhone shares a connection with just about every other mobile device on the market.